Owner wants value of cigarette lighter illuminated
Question: I found this old cigarette lighter at a garage sale. Even though I don’t collect lighters, I bought it for five dollars because of its unusual shape and thinking it might be worth more. It is in the shape of what looks like a banjo and I think it is silver plate. It says, “Ronson pat. June 1928.” What do you know about it? Do I have a treasure?
Answer: You do indeed have a treasure and an example of cigarette lighter history. Your Ronson lighter is the first automatic lighter marketed by Art Metal works between 1926 and 1928. Reproductions were made in the 1980s.
Historically, the first American-made lighter that used fluid and flint — called “The Koopman Magic Pocket Lamp” — was patented in 1893. Your Ronson banjo lighter could sell to a collector, if authentic, for more than $300. Check out dealers and collectors’ clubs for more information.